Mauricio on team selection and Lucas Moura's potential involvement against Arsenal
Thu 08 February 2018, 15:35|Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino admits he faces a tough decision over who to select for this weekend’s clash with Arsenal at Wembley – but he says new signing Lucas Moura could be involved in the squad.
The manager made 10 changes for Wednesday night’s FA Cup tie with Newport County, including starts for Toby Alderweireld – his first game since November 1 – plus Danny Rose and Harry Winks as the trio returned to action after injuries.
Having picked the same starting XI for our last two Premier League outings against Manchester United and Liverpool, Mauricio now has a real selection dilemma with a full squad to choose from for the north London derby at 12.30pm on Saturday.
“We have a squad that in every single game you can use one player or another and that is the team,” he said. “We do not talk about changes, we like to say rotating. For me, it sounds so bad – I like to talk about the team, about the squad, about Tottenham.
“It is our decision to be right in our selection and try to select the best team and the best players to try to win every single game.
“Of course, to be competitive and to have the capacity to go further in different competitions, you need the whole squad fit and ready to fight for a place, to increase the level of competition in between them and, of course, to show and deliver the performance in the game.
“It’s so positive (to have everyone available) but at the same time it will be tough because we cannot put out more than 11 and seven on the bench. I am sure that many players will not be happy that they will be out but that is football, they understand the rules and always we are going to take the best decision for the team.”
Mauricio was asked at his pre-match press conference whether attacking midfielder Lucas, a January transfer deadline day signing from Paris Saint-Germain, could be in line to make his debut against the Gunners.
“I think he will be ready, maybe to be in contention for Saturday,” said the boss. “He is doing well, training so hard and I think we need to assess him tomorrow (Friday), but after the last training session tomorrow, I hope that he is still doing well and we can put him in contention.”
PICK UP YOUR MATCHDAY PROGRAMME ON SATURDAY!
Harry Kane is the cover star of Saturday's official matchday programme for the north London derby, which includes:
- Main feature interview with new signing Lucas Moura
- Mauricio Pochettino’s exclusive programme column
- All the stats behind Harry Kane's 100 Premier League goals
- Road to Russia: Hugo Lloris remembers watching past World Cups
- Tottenham Tales: When we borrowed Highbury and Arsenal used the Lane during the two World Wars
- 100 Club: Looking at Jermain Defoe's goalscoring records
- Wembley Memories with Micky Hazard
All this and more is in Saturday's programme – buy yours from one of several points around Wembley Stadium, still £3.50 for 100 pages. Alternatively, buy individual issues online here or subscribe for the season here.